Balancing Education Budgets On Los Angeles' Kids Backs

I don't usually wish I was a millionaire. Comfortable financially, sure. But I don't need obscene amounts of ducats to buy trinkets I don't really need. However, if I was a millionaire, I'd call up my millionaire friends and we'd band together to host a fundraising telethon for Los Angeles' schools.

Yesterday afternoon I attended the School Site Council meeting at my boy's school, and our principal shared:

1) We're losing five teachers
2) Class sizes in K-2 will go up to 29-1 and up to an average of 32.5 in 4th and 5th grade.
3) No more librarian
4) The school district will pay for .25 days/week of school psychologist - awesome since our school is almost 1/4 special education students.
5) 1/2 day of school nurse per week.
6) No more buy back or pupil-free days for teachers to plan out awesome lessons.

The principal and teachers and parents will make it work. No one's throwing up their hands and saying, "Screw this, I'm not going to teach my students anything next year because the state budget is being balanced on the backs of children." - But what's the tipping point where we admit we maybe can't get the same academic results if don't fund the positions needed, or if we can, maybe it's more difficult to do it than it needs to be?

All the people who claim that students can and must still achieve academic proficiency whether there are 19 kids in a classroom or 29... I want them to enroll their kids in my son's school. Especially if they're millionaires.

Who am I kidding? Millionaires put their kids in private schools where there may be as little as a dozen students in the room. Millionaires put their kids in schools where there are librarians. Millionaires don't have to worry about what budget LAUSD or the State of California hands them because they've taken themselves out of the system by plunking down serious cash for their own children. Because they have it like that.

I love how "fair" our American system is, with our public education that's not fully funded and doesn't fully educate.

But one day in the not so distant future, maybe the millionaire's son will be walking down the street and will be approached by a former LAUSD student. Maybe "something" will happen to make that millionaire - to make all of us - wish someone had cared about the vast majority of Los Angeles' children's education just a little bit more.


April said…
Our Curriculum Director (whom I adore) said that from 2nd grade on, class size shouldn't really make a difference, but that it's worth fighting for smaller class sizes for k-1's grades. I trust his opinion, FWIW.
Having said that, I still think we're talking about the wrong things. If teachers had the freedom to teach their way instead of funneling their lessons through standardized testing requirements, I think all of our children would benefit. It sucks beyond belief that we treat education the way we do.
Anonymous said…
Honestly, I can't believe that anyone in their right mind can say that class size does not matter. The reason that the class size reduction went through was because it has been proven that when a teacher has a smaller class they can spend more time with individual students. With more attention, students learn more. It doesn't necessarily matter what the lessons are, and I don't mind the class standards. I mind when each one of my classes (middle school teacher) is closing in on 38 students and I have no materials available. I do not have grammar or spelling books. I have to make copies for my students or waste my class time for students to copy things off of the board. Do I get money to make these copies? Of course not! How exactly do politicians expect my test scores to sore through the rough when I have no support? This is a frustrating topic and I feel bad for all of the wonderful educators and programs we are losing. As we said when we protested just a few weeks ago, we are truly coming to the death of public education.
Call Family said…
applause for your words

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